Sometimes simple is better, but when it comes to foiling a would-be robber, you need to think about creative ways to secure your valuables in places and objects where they simply won’t think to look. Whether you’re at home, in your car, on vacation, at the beach or even at the gym you can use everyday objects to conceal your money, keys, jewelry and other valuables.
Here are six great ways to pull one over on the bad guys and make sure your stuff stays safe.
1. Reuse Empty Bottles and Jars
Whether it’s an empty shampoo bottle or spice jar, these are everyday items a burglar is not going to give a second glance. If you’re using a shampoo or conditioner bottle, make sure to clean it out thoroughly before adding your valuables. You can also wrap them in plastic wrap or place them in a Ziploc before securing them in the bottle.
To reuse a spice jar, first empty and clean out the jar. Then paint the inside with glue and add spices or herbs again to coat the jar and give the appearance it is still full. Discard the extra herbs, put your stash in a plastic bag and insert into the jar. Seal the jar and place back in the spice cupboard. If that sounds like a lot of work, there are pre-made trick bottles you can purchase, including a sunscreen bottle safe perfect for use at the beach.
2. Hide in Feminine Hygiene Boxes
Because most people don’t look in feminine napkin or tampon boxes unless they have to – and some guys won’t even pick them up for their lady at the store – this is a perfect place to hide some cash or jewelry. Make sure the box is full of actual products and your treasure is safely tucked away in the midst. If you’re on the go, using an empty applicator in a wrapper to conceal cash is one way to ensure sticky fingers will skip grabbing your moolah.
3. Use a Tennis Ball
This one is great for the gym or park. It’s easy to snatch a wallet from a locker or gym bag, but thieves aren’t usually looking for an extra tennis ball. By making a slice in the tennis ball, you transform it into a secret hiding place that works similarly to those little, plastic coin purses that open when you squeeze them. Squeeze the ball, insert your cash, watch or other valuables and release. The ball will pop right back into shape and no one will be the wiser. If you have a place at home where you keep sports equipment, this can be another place to hide valuables in plain sight at home as well.
4. Wear Your Valuables
When you’re traveling one of the best ways to ensure your vacation won’t be spoiled by a mugging or robbery is to conceal your money, passport and other important items close to your body. For ladies it’s easy to use the age-old trick of hiding goodies in your bra, but there are money pouches that easily attach under your clothes, to a belt or can be worn around your neck or waist. If you want to feel like a spy on your travels, there is an array of specially-made clothing designed with secret pockets and fancy security features to keep all of your valuables safe.
5. Stuff it in a Towel
Everyone has probably stuffed their keys, hotel key, cell phone or wallet into a towel at the pool or beach. Obviously, that is not the best way to keep thieves from ruining the day by leaving you empty-handed. However, the idea is sound and has inspired the creation of the Towelmate. This takes the basic roll it up in the towel idea and adds the extra security of a hidden, zippered pocket. There are several different versions available, and you’re sure to find one that provides the peace of mind you need at the beach or gym.
6. Think Beyond the Glove Box and Trunk
If you need to make sure your stuff stays safe in your car, it’s time to get more creative than shoving it in the glove box or throwing it in the trunk. And make sure whatever you need to hide in the car is well-hidden before you reach your final destination – you don’t want someone watching you hide your cell phone or tablet.
Think about placing smaller items in an empty soda can or drink cup. You can even buy a soda can safe designed to fool the bad guys. Placing items under the floor mats or between seat cushions are also better options than the glove box and trunk. For added security, you can take two identical floor mats and glue them together, leaving a secret compartment between them to slide in items you want to hide.
What other sneaky hiding tricks have you used to keep your valuables safe?
Written by Rebecca Edwards
Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past six. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month testing and evaluating security products and strategies. Her safety expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her work and contributions in places like TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, HGTV, MSN, and an ever-growing library of radio and TV clips. Learn more